Wednesday, November 2, 2016

I Need My Monster by Amanda Noll

Title: I Need My Monster
Author: Amanda Noll
Illustrator: Howard McWilliam

 A unique monster-under-the-bed story with the perfect balance of giggles and shivers, this picture book relies on the power of humor over fear, appeals to a child’s love for creatures both alarming and absurd, and glorifies the scope of a child’s imagination. One night, when Ethan checks under his bed for his monster, Gabe, he finds a note from him instead: "Gone fishing. Back in a week." Ethan knows that without Gabe’s familiar nightly scares he doesn't stand a chance of getting to sleep, so Ethan interviews potential substitutes to see if they've got the right equipment for the job—pointy teeth, sharp claws, and a long tail—but none of them proves scary enough for Ethan. When Gabe returns sooner than expected from his fishing trip, Ethan is thrilled. It turns out that Gabe didn't enjoy fishing because the fish scared too easily.

I read this book aloud to my 1st graders, and they LOVED it! In the book different substitute monsters appear to try and fill in for Ethan's vacationing monster.  The students loved the descriptions of each monster, and almost even more they loved looking at the illustrations of that monster.  Some made them giggle too.  Super fun to read to them.  Many wanted to look at the book later because the illustrations are so detailed that they wanted to explore it more.  What I loved was that yes he has a monster under his bed, but it's not something that really scares him a lot.  He needs his monster to scare him enough to stay in bed and sleep.  I loved that concept.  So little kids can see a good/safe reason! 

YES! for sure I'd put this in the media center.  I already do have it in mine, but if you're a media specialist I would definitely get it.  

Who a boost of courage
Who need to see monsters as silly
Who like silly stories

Monday, October 31, 2016

Frightlopedia by Julie Winterbottom

Title: Frightlopedia: An Encyclopedia of Everything Scary, Creepy, and Spine-Chilling, From Arachnids to Zombies
Author: Julie Winterbottom
Illustrator: Stefano Tambellini

Here’s the book for kids who love scary stuff, whether it’s telling ghost stories around a campfire, discovering the origins of various vampires, monsters, and witches, or reading creepy tales under the covers with a flashlight.

Combining fact, fiction, and hands-on activities, Frightlopedia is an illustrated A-Z collection of some of the world’s most frightening places, scariest stories, and gruesomest creatures, both real and imagined.

Discover Borneo’s Gomantong Cave, where literally millions of bats, cockroaches, spiders, and rats coexist—in pitch darkness. Learn about mythical creatures like the Mongolian Death Worm—and scarily real ones like killer bees, which were accidentally created by scientists in the 1950s. Visit New Orleans’s Beauregard-Keyes house, where Civil War soldiers are said to still clash in the front hall. Plus ghost stories from around the world, a cross-cultural study of vampires, and how to transform into a zombie with makeup. Each entry includes a “Fright Meter” measurement from 1 to 3, because while being scared is fun, everyone has their limit.

I'm a huge fan of scary things.  I love scary books and movies! So when I received this book in the mail for review I was really excited about it.  I did wonder how it would be for kids though.  First what did I think of it - I loved it!  The book takes you through the alphabet of creepy, scary, odd things.  I was impressed they actually had something for each letter!  My favorites were the Manchineel tree (I'm staying clear of that one!) and Island of the Dolls (also staying clear of!).  The letter G was great too looking at different ghosts.  And of course I liked Z with zombies.  I found the pieces informative and well written.  They gave details without pushing the gore or scare.  What was really cool was that each topic has a Fright Meter telling you how scary this topic might be.  I thought this would be great for kids reading the book.  Now about kids reading it - many of the topics are ones you'd see in other books - spiders, bats, rats - those types of things, so I don't think those would be an issue.  Some of the ghost stories might be hard for kids who scare easily, so I would caution them.

Over all - I enjoyed it! 

Like to learn about different topics
Can handle a scare
Enjoy nonfiction/informative text

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Library List Oct 29, 2016

I thought I'd share with you the books a saw checked out this week.  
These are books real K-5 students are reading.

I introduced my 4th graders to Patrick Carman and many of them wanted to check out this book!

Ranger in Time Series
I book-talked Kate Messner books and many, many, many went after this series!

I'll keep you posted on what books I see this upcoming week! 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

BOOK BLAST: Curse of the Boggin by D.J. MacHale +GIVEAWAY

I'm very excited to be part of the book blast for Curse of the Boggin: The Library Book 1 by D. J. MacHale!

First of all - his books are fantastic.  So many kids I know love his books.  
Second: Um - The LIBRARY.  Hello how perfect is that?

About the Book

Enter the Library, where no one knows how the stories end . . . and finding out will be terrifying.

There’s a place beyond this world, beyond the land of the living, where ghosts go to write their unfinished stories—stories that ended too soon. It’s a place for unexplained phenomena: mysteries that have never been solved, spirits that have never been laid to rest. And there’s only one way in or out.

It’s called the Library, and you can get there with a special key. But beware! Don’t start a story you can’t finish. Because in thislibrary, the stories you can’t finish just might finish you.

Marcus O’Mara is a 13 year old guy at a crossroads. He constantly finds himself in trouble at school, with his friends, and with his adoptive parents. Marcus doesn’t believe things can get any worse for him…until they get worse.

Much worse.

He begins seeing strange and impossible visions; gets thrown into paranormal danger and is haunted by a mysterious ghost with a singular goal: to give him a key.

It’s a key that opens the door to a mysterious library. When that door opens, the incredible adventure for Marcus and his friends begins as they learn the truth about Marcus’ past and uncover the strange world of unfinished stories that are found on the shelves of the Library.


D.J. MacHale is a writer, director, executive producer and creator of several popular television series and movies. As an author, his ten-volume book series: Pendragon: Journal of an Adventure Through Time and Space became a New York Times #1 bestseller.

He was raised in Greenwich, CT where he had several jobs including collecting eggs at a poultry farm; engraving trophies and washing dishes in a steakhouse…in between playing football and running track. D.J. graduated from New York University where he received a BFA in film production.

His film-making career began in New York where he worked as a freelance writer/director making corporate videos and television commercials.

D.J. broke into the entertainment business by writing several ABC Afterschool Specials. As co-creator of the popular Nickelodeon series: Are You Afraid of the Dark?, he produced all 91 episodes. D.J. also wrote and directed the movie Tower of Terror for ABC’s Wonderful World of Disney. The Showtime series Chris Cross was co-created, written and produced by D.J. It received the CableAce award for Best Youth Series.

D.J. created and produced the Discovery Kids/NBC television series Flight 29 Down. He wrote every episode and directed several. His work on Flight 29 Down earned him the Writers Guild of America award for Outstanding Children’s Script and a Directors Guild of America award nomination.

Other notable television writing credits include the ABC Afterschool Special titled Seasonal Differences; the pilot for the long-running PBS/CBS series Ghostwriter; and the HBO series Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective for which he received a CableAce nomination for writing.

In print, D.J. also authored the supernatural Morpheus Road trilogy; a whimsical picture book The Monster Princess; and The SYLO Chronicles, a thrilling sci-fi trilogy. He also wrote Voyagers: Project Alpha, the first of a six book science fiction adventure.

D.J.’s newest book series is The Library, a spooky middle-grade anthology about a mysterious library filled with unfinished supernatural tales, and the daring young people who must complete them.

D.J. lives in Southern California with his wife Evangeline and daughter Keaton. They are avid backpackers, scuba divers and skiers. Rounding out the household is a spoiled golden retriever named Casey and an equally spoiled tuxedo cat named Jinx.

Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter
Winner will receive a Copy of The Library Book 1: Curse of the Boggin + Signed Bookmark by D.J. MacHale
1 Winner will receive a $20.00 Amazon Gift Card.

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Sunday, October 23, 2016

Library List

I thought I'd share with you the books a saw checked out this week.  
These are books real K-5 students are reading.

Escape From Mr. Lemoncello's Library
I know I'm seeing this one checkout because I'm reading it aloud to my 3rd graders and several want to read ahead!

Knuffle Bunny
This is one I saw a lot this week with the younger kids.

I'll keep you posted on what books I see this upcoming week! 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Brightly's 50 Best Books for 9-and-10-Year-Olds +GIVEAWAY

I have been a fan of the website Brightly for awhile now.  If you haven't checked it out you should.  And I encourage you to sign up to receive their emails as well. They do NOT over spam you at all! It's just a great website full of book lists, activities to do with books and help for parents who want to get their kids reading more.  

When they sent me an email about their latest page I loved it! I teach this age group now, so I love that this is a great list I can send them to.  This list was put together by a group of  children's literature experts.  It's fantastic.  And I really like that it's also arranged by genre.  Makes it super easy for kids (and parents) to find good books they think they'll like.

You need to check out this list.  You can find it HERE.  

Two of my favorites on the list are:

A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz

Three Times Lucky by Shelia Turnage

Brightly has offered up a giveaway for my readers!

Up for grabs:
Brightly tote bag
Two books from the list

US addresses only
At least 13

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Thursday, October 13, 2016

Rise of the Lioness: Restoring a Habitat and Its Pride on the Liuwa Plains by Bradley Hague

Title: Rise of the Lioness: Restoring a Habitat and Its Pride on the Liuwa Plains
Author: Bradley Hague

Poaching and war damaged an isolated wilderness in West Zambia, reducing its lion population to just one: Lady, the last lioness. Witness Lady's fight for survival in this evocative narrative on the decline, fall, and rebirth of the Liuwa Plains. Follow Lady as she grapples with a landscape altered by human hands and discover how both Lady and humankind restore balance to the environment.

More than a story about one brave lion, The Lioness offers a great introduction to life science by looking at the workings of an ecosystem, the methods of scientists and environmentalists, and explaining the interconnection between the plant, animal, and human systems.

This is a absolutely fascinating book! The story of Lady (the last Lioness) is amazing.  To hear how she was alone for 10 years and how they were able to bring more lions to her was incredible.  I found myself almost cheering a little when I read that her and the male lions became a family and inseparable.  And then when cubs were born! Just amazing to see the be how they worked to bring the lions back and to see they were having success.  

The photography in the book is great.  I love nonfiction books with lots of clear strong photographs because they help me understand the information better.  This pictures in this book did that.  From the pictures I was able to better understand the climate of Liuwa, the affects of poaching and how lions survive there.  I know many kids will be hooked by the pictures in the book!

Media Thoughts:  I would for sure add this to my collection.  I'm finding that elementary kids enjoy and seek out animal nonfiction books, and this would be a great addition.  To note, though, this is not a simple read.  Although it's filled with photographs it also has a lot of text. Just something to keep in mind.  Also - I think it would be a great book to share with the science teachers in the building.  It talks about habitat, ecology, and ecosystem just to name a few.  

Like nonfiction
Like books about animals
Are pulled into a book by the pictures

Monday, October 10, 2016

Review: Pug Meets Pig by Sue Lowell Gallion +GIVEAWAY

Title: Pug Meets Pig
Author: Sue Lowell Gallion
Illustrator: Joyce Wan

An unlikely pair—a pug and a pig!—realize that it’s better to be together.

Pug is a very happy pup. He has his own yard, his own bowl, and even his own cozy bed! That is, until Pig moves in and starts eating from Pug’s bowl, interrupting Pug’s routine, and, worst of all, sleeping in Pug’s bed. Will Pug and Pig ever learn to live together as friends?

So cute! I absolutely adore this book!  It's a simply written book, but yet captures pug's feelings perfectly as he meets the new pig.  The illustrations couple with the text so nicely keeping the simplicity yet full of emotion. I can completely see students loving this book and laughing at poor pug as he struggles to adapt to a new house-mate. They will fall in love with him as much as I have. What I like too is that see them "reading" the book as well just by reading the pictures.  

I love the message as well - that if we open up to new opportunities they can turn out wonderfully.  Students will get that message without it having to be stated.  They will just see what pug learned and learn from it as well.  

Just a well done book that will become a favorite of mine and I hope my students as well.

Media thoughts:  Yes! This will go in the collection for sure.  I also plan on reading it aloud to my kindergartners and doing some activities with it.  

Like dogs
Like pigs :)
Are just the the verge of reading

About the Author
Sue Lowell Gallion is a printer's daughter, so she has a life-long love of type, paper, and the aroma of ink. Her work has been published in magazines including Highlights and High Five, and she loves sharing books with kids as a volunteer tutor. Pug Meets Pig is her debut picture book. A second Pug and Pig adventure, Pug & Pig Trick or Treat, is coming in fall 2017. Sue lives with her family in Leawood, Kansas. Visit her at

Be sure to download the fun activity kit, complete with friendship bracelets, a coloring sheet, and more! 

One lucky winner will receive a copy of PUG MEETS PIG plus some treats for your favorite pooch (or pig!)--a goodie bag of dog biscuits and a tennis ball! 

(U.S. addresses; one entry per person.)
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Sunday, October 9, 2016

Library List This Weelk

I thought I'd share with you the books a saw checked out this week.  
These are books real K-5 students are reading.

Lunch Lady
This week I saw several kids checking out books from this series.  I know they've been around for awhile, but this week they were really popular! 

I'm so excited to see kids checking this book out!!! Such a good book!

I'll keep you posted on what books I see this upcoming week! 

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Blog Tour: Fablehaven Book of Imagination by Brandon Mull

I'm soooooooo excited to be a part of this blog tour.  I love the Fablehaven series, and I know so many kids that feel the same way.  So when I was asked to participate I jumped at the chance!

About the Book

Tuck this journal into your backpack, tote it along and use it as a fun activity book for all things Fablehaven and to reflect on the mythical creature metaphors found in the series.


If you owned your own invisibility glove like Seth, how would you use it today?
Learn how to draw a dragon’s head with step-by-step instructions.
You have found the legendary Totem Wall. Choose a face to speak with. What question would you ask?

Dragons can create paralyzing fear. Imagine your hands and arms were literally paralyzed from encountering a dragon, but you still needed to write a message. Use your feet or mouth to write a note on the page.

Create your own art: draw your own magical preserve. Include your home, landmarks, trees, trails, areas to avoid. Where is it located? What is it called?

Draw your family pet as if it were a guardian to a hidden, ancient artifact. What special power does your pet have to protect the treasure it is guarding?

Fans will also find coloring book pages, mazes, scavenger hunts, and instructions for origami creatues of Fablehaven characters like Raxtus!

Within the pages of this book are secret codes what will help the reader discover a secret message from Brandon Mull about Dragonwatch, the sequel to Fablehaven.

What a wonderful little book!!!! For fans of the Fablehaven series this is a must have!  Not only will it bring back so many wonderful memories of the stories, it will allow them to move into the world of Fablehaven just a tiny bit.  The book is filled with lots of creative activities connected to the entire series.  Anything as simple as creating as many words as possible out of the word FABLEHAVEN to creating your own wizard slime.  I like that not all of them require ingredients.  That would have been too much.  It's a nice mixture of simple and complex.  Oh - and if you've wanted to create a unicorn horn it's in the book! 

One other thing I really like are the quotes scattered throughout the book. They are from authors such as J.K. Rowling, J.R.R Tolkien, Roald Dahl and characters from the book.  My favorite is a quote from Seth: "If dragons weren't freaky, they'd be disappointing."  LOVE that!

And lastly - if you're excited about the new sequel to Fablehaven this has some clues to it! 

Media Thoughts:  As much as I love this book I couldn't put it in the library because it's intended to be consumed.  But for sure I would book-talk it AND I might have them do a few of the activities as a way to hook them into the series.  

Love Fablehaven
Are looking for a new series to enjoy
Like to do creative activities

Monday, October 3, 2016

Review: Meet the Bobs and The Tweets by Pepper Springfield +GIVEAWAY

Title: Meet the Bobs and the Tweets
Author: Pepper Springfield
Illustrator: Kristy Caldwell

...the Bobs, who are messy, and the Tweets, who are neat. How can these two strange families get along in the same neighborhood? And are all the Tweets really neat and all the Bobs slobs? 

From the start this book just screams Dr. Seuss.  Just looking at the cover, and you can see that it harkins back to books like One Fish, Two Fish and The Lorax.  When opening the book the illustrations and bright and cheerful.  Kids will definitely be attracted to them.  I could see kids spending the first time with the book just looking at the pictures.  

The story is one of feeling out of place with the people around you.  In this case it's feeling that way in your family.  Any kid who has every felt different from their family will be able to relate.  One child in each family is different from anyone else in their family whether a Bob or a Tweet.  What I really liked was that neither family was portrayed as the "right" way to be and the other the "wrong".  They were just different from each other.  Nice simple idea that doesn't hit you over the head, but is still clear.  It strengthens the book because it doesn't judge.  It just more says that people are different and that's ok.  I liked that.  

I think kids will enjoy the book.  The younger kids will be attracted to it because it will remind them of the Dr. Seuss books they like, but it really is for a bit older kids - more like 3rd or so.  It isn't simple words with only a few on the page, so keep that in mind. 

Like Dr. Seuss
Like books that rhyme
Feel out of place sometimes
Like bright colorful illustrations


Two copies of the book

Must be a US Resident
Must be at least 13

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Sunday, October 2, 2016

In the Library This Week

I thought I'd start sharing with you the books a saw checked out this week.  
These are books real K-5 students are reading.

Spirit Animals Series
A student who isn't too keen on reading, really got interested in this one! 

If I Built a Car
This is actually a series of picture books.  We just got a few in the media center, and the kids are loving them! 

Star of the North Award
With my 2nd graders we are going to read all the Star of the North books, so we can vote for our favorite! 

We started with:

The kids really liked it! They laughed a lot.  

I'll keep you posted on what books I see this upcoming week! 

Friday, September 30, 2016

Review: Mixed Up Trucks with Baxter, Rosie and Gus by Robert von Goeben

Title: Mixed Up Trucks with Baxter, Rosie and Gus
Author: Robert von Goeben
Geared Towards: Pre K to K

Baxter, Rosie and Gus were born to drive trucks. But soon they learn that the only way to get things done is to work together, or what a mess they will have! Join the three dogs as they discover just how fun cooperation can be. 

Working with kindergartners and 1st graders I'm developing even more appreciation for picture books for this age.  Ones with stronger story and not just simplistic writing are much more fun and engaging for the students.  This one fits that.  I like the rhyme in it making the story flow.  But I really like how it shows the characters getting jobs that fit what they liked to do as kids.  What a great thing for kids to see!  But them it goes further by showing how we need to work together and listen to each other in order to be successful when working together.  I nice little lesson.  

Media Thoughts:  For sure I'd add this to the collection for the younger kids.

Construction trucks
Like Bob the Builder
Like playing outside digging and moving dirt

Monday, September 26, 2016

Review: Laser Moose and Rabbit Boy by Doug Savage

Title: Laser Moose and Rabbit Boy
Author: Doug Savage
Geared Towards: 4th grade and up

The forest is full of danger . . .  but help is here. Meet Laser Moose and Rabbit Boy, improbable pals who use their powers—laser vision and an unrelenting sense of optimism—to fight the forces of evil. Join the dynamic duo as they battle aliens, a mutant fish-bear, a cyborg porcupine, and a mechanical squirrel, learning along the way that looking on the bright side might be just as powerful as shooting a laser. 

Graphic novels are HUGE at my media center.  We cannot keep them on the shelf.  So when I was offered this book for review I wanted to check it out.  I do think it's one that kids will enjoy.  I mean really what kid wouldn't like a story with a moose that can shoot lasers out of his eyes?! But what is fun about it is that he isn't the best aim and some funny things happen because of it.  What I found interesting about this book is that it's several shorter stories in one book.  That is not something I've seen before in a graphic novel.  I think kids would like that as well because some need shorter pieces and like to read a story beginning to end in one setting.  

Media Thoughts:  Yes I'd put this in the media center.  One thing to note is that even though it looks like it could be for younger kids I think it's more for like 3rd and up.  

Like graphic novels